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Buddhism as a Way of Life

One of the reasons why I took the course of for religion this semester is to perhaps come closer with my God again. As a child growing up in Poland, where Christianity was the only accepted religion, I was very much encouraged by my parents, family, and society to pray at bedtime, attend mass every Sunday, and be enrolled in the mandatory religion classed at my public school. As I got older and began making my own decisions, religion began slowly slipping out of my life. I never took the time to think why, but the only reason that comes to mind is time.

In todays society, people are very busy where time is very limited. As I read the first five chapters of our book, I began to realize that even thought human life is very precious it is eternal, and time is not that important. Although so far I have learned new ideas and beliefs of other religions, the one which interested me most is Buddhism. Buddhism which has many roots of Hinduism began more than 2,500 years ago by an Indian Prince named Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha became dissatisfied with the beliefs of the Hindu religion and sought to find the peace of mind he wanted.

Siddhartha left his home and went to search of inner peace. Through much meditation under a bo tree and this became Buddha, or The Enlightened one, he could than enter nirvana, the Buddhist place for eternal bliss or stay on earth and help others find salvation. Buddha didnt believe in exactly a soul but he did believe that there was something eternal in people and that they cannot be born again, but rather partially in all living things. He called this eternal part of humans Karma. Karma is the sum of ones good and bad deeds, as in the Jainist religion.

Karma determines what a person will come back as in the next life. In his first sermon Buddha revealed the Four Noble Truths which form the basis of the Buddhists beliefs. One of these beliefs is that all lives, from birth to death, are filled with sufferings and this suffering is the cause of desire. This belief is really a reality. From the beginning of human life, humans have been fighting with each other for what it was that they desired. Peace was destroyed because people were fighting for something they wanted. Most wars broke out because people were fighting for land, etc.

This interested me very much in Buddhism because people do take material things much in consideration rather than feelings. I believe that one in not happy with himself if he possesses material objects, but he finds happiness within himself. One could have all the things he desires, but if he has pain and hurt inside him he will never be happy. People do not realize this. I also learned that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion. Unlike in Christianity, there is no one God who created everything and to whom prayers are directed.

Being a bit familiar with the Buddha statue, I always thought that Buddha was the Buddhist God which was worshipped. Shakyamuni Buddha was only the founder of Buddhism not God. He was a normal human being who in search for peace in mind through meditation showed people spiritual awakening and freedom. Buddha thought that in order to live a life that is free form pain and suffering people must eliminate any attachments to worldly goods. Only then will they gain a kind of peace and happiness. They must rid themselves of greed, hatred, and ignorance. They strive to joy and equanimity.

Morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration from the delusion may be overcome and one will reach Nirvana. Even though I am Catholic, by taking an interest in the Buddhist religion I learned to believe many of Buddhist teaching to be very helpful in human life. I agree that in order to be a good person you need to keep your mind clear and pure. Being human it is natural to make mistakes, have feelings of pain, and desire. It is normal to humans that the longer you keep pain inside the more it hurts, therefore a great way to release pain is through meditation.

I as all human beings have experienced the feeling of pain. The best way for me to deal with such feelings is usually spending time alone in a quiet place. Keeping my mind clear and relaxing helps me deal with pain. I found Buddhism a very interesting religion because many of its beliefs are based on the human existence, and humanity overall. I especially found it fascinating that it focuses on human reality and how one can clear and purify his soul to become a better person now and be rewarded for it later in life.

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